ECOWAS Court Fixes 7th May to Deliver Judgment in a case brought by a Guinean who claimed to have been tortured for allegedly stealing a woman’s bag

The ECOWAS Court has fixed 7th of May 2019 to deliver judgment in a case brought by one Mr. Alhousseine Camara, a Guinean who claimed to have suffered ‘gruesome torture’ by security agents of the State that resulted in multiple fractures and hospitalization for two months, allegedly for stealing a woman’s bag.

In suit number ECW/CCJ/APP/30/16 filed before the Court on the 9th of August, 2016, Mr. Camara, said his ordeal started on 16th October 2011 after he reported himself at the office of the security agents after a neighbor informed him he was being sought by the agents. On arrival at the station, the plaintiff claimed that one Captain Konate asked him of the whereabouts of the bag after which he was detained and tortured.

The plaintiff averred that seeing his condition, the officers took him to a traditionalist for treatment and that he was later contacted by one Commandant Sidibe who offered at one time to enroll him in the armed forces and at another time a monetary offer of CFA 40,000 to buy his silence about the ill-treatment meted by the security agents.

He alleged that the plaintiff’s family were not informed of the plaintiff’s arrest but were only informed by a neighbour and that during the subsequent visit of the father, he was told by Commandant Sidibe that the plaintiff stole a woman’s bag and sustained the injuries while escaping.

He added that a neighbour equally facilitated a meeting between his family and the Chief of Army headquarters and that the Deputy Chief of Army headquarters after reaffirming the facts resolved to cater for the needs of the plaintiff.

The plaintiff affirmed that Captain Konate was placed on suspension without pay, a punishment that was deemed inappropriate and forced him through his counsel to file a complaint on 9 May 2012 for torture, inhuman and degrading treatment before the public prosecutor which was forwarded to the Commandant in the Bureau of Judicial Investigations. The plaintiff further said that he was not aware of the outcome of the investigation nor that the officer responsible was prosecuted.

The plaintiff, who was represented by two Non-Governmental Organisations, namely “Meme Droit pour Tous (MDT) and Institute of Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), alleged that the detention and torture by agents of the defendant violated the plaintiff’s right to freedom from torture and inhuman treatment, right to liberty, right to work, right to good health, and right to effective remedy amongst others.

The plaintiff is seeking reliefs of the Court ordering the defendant to prosecute the perpetrators of the violations, pay the medical bills of the plaintiff and tender unreserved public apology to the plaintiff for the prejudice he suffered.

The plaintiff is equally seeking orders of Court compelling the defendant to proscribe all forms of torture, sensitise the public on the ills of torture and pay compensation in the sum of 5,563,972,000 CFA Francs for all prejudice suffered.

The government of the Republic of Guinea did not put up an appearance in the suit which was heard by a panel of three judges comprising Justices Edward Amoako Asante, Gberi-Be Ouattara and Januaria Moreira Costa.